DT 26105 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26105

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26105

Hints and tips by Rishi

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A pleasant start to the week with a crossword by our Monday Maestro.

I was held up for some minutes by fewer than half-a-dozen clues. The last to go in were 1a, 9a and 5d and 7d.

As usual each answer is hidden within the curly brackets so that it doesn’t hit your eye. If you want your eye to hit it, just select the white space.

1a Not a member of the first form at Westminster (11)
{BACKBENCHER} – cryptic definition – A member of Parliament in one of the seats in the House occupied by members who do not hold office.

9a Ground-rent deposit (4)
{LAVA} – cryptic definition – What is thrown up by a volcano when it erupts or when the “ground” is opened up (“rent”) by issues from within.

10a Takes a turn in the air (11)
{SOMERSAULTS} – cryptic definition – third in a row! – rather vague as every turn in the air may not necessarily be what the solution suggests.

11a Celebration held in a cafeteria (4)
{FETE} – hidden – A word meaning “celebration” is hidden in the last word of the clue.

14a An irritated doyen describing his state of mind (7)
{ANNOYED} – anagram after a word – AN (got for free) plus NOYED, an anagram of ‘doyen’ (“irritated” being the anagram indicator), give the answer word – how an irritated person might feel.

16a Net adjustment by water board (7)
{ENTRAIN } – anagram before a word – ENT, anagram of ‘net’ (“adjustment” being the anagram indicator) plus RAIN (“water”) give a word that means “board” in its verb form. The surface reading is oh-so-smooth.

17a Took the wheel in a Land Rover (5)
{DROVE} – second hidden in the same set of clues – Answer word that means “took the wheel” is hidden in the clue. Appropriately, the words that yield the string is a vehicle.

18a Admits being in possession (4)
{OWNS} – double definition – Admits / being in possession. Would “being in possession” give OWNING? I invite the opinions of my readers.

19a Holy Roman Emperor to turn to (4)
{OTTO} – The name of an emperor is derived by taking OT (by reversing TO, “turn” being the reversal indicator) and adding TO (for which we needn’t to do any work) Well, if you take TO and then reverse the second TO, you will be making a bwrong in toto!

Otto III

20a Walk like a doctor in drink? (5)
{AMBLE} – MB, an abbreviation which expands to Bachelor of Medicine from its Latin form, is inserted in a word that means “drink” to get “walk”.

22a Falls for a redhead once more on the rebound (7)
{NIAGARA} – A, R (redhead) and AGAIN (“once more”) put together and reversed (“on the redound”) give us the name of a famous falls (noun).

Niagara Falls

23a Mocked when seen to be upset and embarrassed (7)
{SNEERED} – word after anagram – SNEE, anagram of “seen” (“upset” being the anagram indicator) and RED (“embarrassed”, adjective) produce the answer (“mocked”)

24a Game at home results in defeat (4)
{RUIN} – word after word – RU, abbreviation for Rugby Union (“game”) and IN (“at home”) leads us to a word that means “defeat”

28a Disheartened, maxim is put into action (11)
{DEMORALISED} – word within word – MORAL (“maxim”) and IS, inserted in DEED (“action”), leaves us with a word that means “disheartened”

29a Eternally the dream of the French revolutionary (4)
{EVER} – reversal – If we reverse RÊVE,  the French word for “dream” (“revolutionary” being the reversal indicator) , we get the answer meaning “eternally”.

30a No more stars for those that watch at night (11)
{ASTRONOMERS} – anagram – jumbling the letters “no more stars” we get a word that means “those that watch at night”.

2d Girl accepts ring later (4)
{ANON} – word within word – O (“ring”) in ANN (“girl”) gives an archaic word that means “at another time”.

3d Observe, when you look up (4)
{KEEP} – reversal – A word that means “observe” is obtained by reversing another that means “look”, “up” being the reversal indicator in this Down slot.

4d Determined – though certain to come in last (7)
{ENSURED} – word within word – SURE (“certain”) in END (“last”) gets the answer that means “determined”.

5d A crossword! (4)
{CRUX} – cryptic definition – No, not the one that we solved but a word that literally means “cross”. The setter has added an exclamation mark to suggest that we should not take things at face value. I wondered whether a question mark would have been in order but that would raise doubt, which is quite out of place as “crux” means “cross”; only, you have to mentally rephrase the clue as “a word that means ‘cross’ ” . I must also add that the clue falls short in giving me that elation which I expect from a clue with an exclamation mark.

6d Ten fuddled with drink weave around (7)
{ENTWINE} – anagram before a word – ENT (anagram of ‘ten’) plus WINE (drink) gives a word that means “weave around”.

7d Sex genes producing criminals (11)
{MALEFACTORS} – Split the solution as “male” and “factors” and you get “sex genes”.

8d Bookmaker is not working but it doesn’t matter (5,2,4)
{MAKES NO ODDS} – part-cryptic double definition – “Bookmaker is not working” / “it doesn’t matter”, makes no difference

12d A conflict which could make one 28 across (3,2,6)
{WAR OF NERVES} – Straight definition – This could make one ‘demoralised’ (the answer at 28a).

13d Not having any occupation (11)
{UNINHABITED} – cryptic definition – A house that is “not having any occupation’ that is, not occupied, is this.

15d A drop of whisky before a stage show (5)
{DRAMA} – word after word – DRAM (“a drop’’) before A(“a”) gives us “a stage show”.

16d Lives wildly, producing social problems (5)
{EVILS} – anagram of LIVES produces the word that means “social problems”

20d They aim to get her into the bright lights (7)
{ARCHERS} – word within word – HER (“her”) in ARCS (“bright lights) gives a word that means those who aim (and shoot, of course)


21d Confine in N E China, perhaps (7)
{ENCHAIN} – anagram – Jumbling the letters N E CHINA we get a word that means “confine” (shackled in chains, of course)

25d Space to turn round and berth (4)
{MOOR} – reversal – If you reverse ROOM (“space”), you get a word that means “berth” (verb).

26d Skin flick (4)
{FILM} – double definition – “skin”/ “film” – Don’t get distracted by thinking of blue movies!

27d Find out, catch and try (4)
{HEAR} – Three definitions – “Find out”, “catch” and try”

My favourites were: 16a, 17a and 26d.

Additional comments

1a: Note also that ‘form’ has the meaning of ‘a long seat or bench” which I came to know only today. Many other meanings are familiar, one of them being ‘a school class’. When I was in school back in the Fifties we were in ‘forms’ but now in India they call them only classes or standards. And in the U.S. my grandchildren are in ‘grades’. In any class in countries such as India there are backbenchers who might be up to some tricks. The wooden benches are hard to sit on, but I guess the members of Parliament must be having comfy seats.

30a: I wish crossword setters don’t use the anagram ‘no more stars’ when clueing ASTRONOMERS. It is overworn and even non-crossword websites giving examples of anagrams have this on top of their lists.

7d: Does “sex genes” lead only to “male factors”. What about “female factors”? Aren’t there criminals among women?

12d: If in a WAR OF NERVES one happens to be the winner, one wouldn’t be DEMORALISED.

What do you think? Leave a comment as we are delighted to hear from our readers.

You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.

61 comments on “DT 26105

  1. Many thanks Rishi for your review.
    An enjoyable start to the week, although perhaps slightly easier than the past few Monday offerings.
    I actually saw 1a immediately, although there were one or two others that held me up for a short time, viz 9a and 29a.
    Whilst I assumed 29a must be “ever” I didn’t remember (or perhaps never knew) the French word for dream! :smile:
    Favourite clues 22a and 20d.

      1. Thanks Vince it’s many years since my “O” level days, absent-minded daydreaming is now rampant .. (oh dear is that an oxymoron?) :wink:

              1. Thanks for the observation that ‘reverie’ is from Fr. rêver, to dream. It is these small bits that add to our knowledge.

  2. Good morning Rishi, I finished this all except 5d though i should have known the word! failing all else i put clue in there :( how silly was that, took me a while to get started on this, but once i got going i enjoyed it, with all my usual aids – of course, come on cc members, it seems difficult at first, i suppose it’s just down to how much time you have and how much you want to do it :)

    1. Like you I failed miserably with 5d although its a perfectly fair clue unlike 28a. My copy of Chambers does not give maxim as moral but as an adage. or story or principle. Sloppy!! On the whole an enjoyable puzzle today but with a few tricky clues that called for my electronic aid!

  3. I found four words starting EN- a bit much, especially as three of them had the EN bit included in an anagram! Nor am I a great fan of the cryptic definition, although I gather from the comments others make that they are. To me such a clue is “one-dimensional”; a good clue to me has two or more threads in it which come together in the answer.

    Harry Shipley

    1. Harry,

      Your observation that there are four words starting with en- is a good one!

      I should have mentioned that, but then commenters must have something to say in the follow-up, which is what promotes community feeling!

  4. A gentler start from Rufus this week but still enjoyable and a few tricky definitions to keep us on our toes. My favourites were 1a, 7d and 8d. Many thanks for the notes and thanks to Rufus for our entertainment today.

  5. A nice easy start to the week.

    I agree, Rishi, about 12d. I thought exactly the same as I did it.

    22a. What indicates that A & R have to go inside NIAGA?

    30a. I know it’s come up before, but I don’t like “for” as an anagram indicator!

    18a. I think you’re possibly right about “being”. I think that “is” would have been better.

    1. I think that Rishi has gone out for a while.

      12d is borderline, and it wasn’t that hard to work out

      22a is a reversal of all three parts of the wordplay, with no containment

      30a – I agree, but a lot of setters are using it because it links definition and subsidiary indication (or vice versa)

      18a – this is just about works, but is a bit awkward

      1. On 12d, I think that the words “could be” allow for either the winner and the loser so the clue works for me.

        On a separate point, are you going to flag up tonight’s programme on BBC4?

              1. is this a repeat of a programme a few months ago? i saw it then and found it very interesting.

      2. 22a. I see it now! I got the right answer, but the wrong way. Sometimes it’s too easy to fool yourself. (Or should that be oneself?)

  6. Took a while to get going then motored on.As per usual the 4 letter words were the last solve ( how annoying)but they appear to hold up a lot of people.
    Enjoyed 1a , 7 & 8d
    Vince the A & R go on the end I believe although I can see what you mean.

  7. A good start to the week but 5d just doesn’t work for me. Clues this short and cryptic should perhaps be reserved for longer words as I also had “clue” but had no reason to question it as everything else fitted.

    Last two to fall were 7d and 9a. Favourites were 26a and 8d.

  8. I enjoyed this too, but got in a tangle by putting DEMOTIVATED instead of DEMORALISED and CUSS instead of CRUX.

    Nice start to the week.

    1. CUSS at 5d? And CLUE as mary and Bondini thought? Why didn’t these words come to me? The crux of the matter is that to each person their own thought processes!

      1. Tilsit,
        Similar problems with 5d…
        My first thought was that 5d was cuss, until I corrected the error by getting 10a, then I put clue in. Only for CluedUp to spit it out with an error. One inspired guess later and it was done.

  9. Wasn’t feeling very clever this morning and struggled with a few of these – I have noticed in the past that I seem to struggle with Rufus more than with some of the “harder” setters/puzzles. I got there in the end with 7d being favourite.

  10. Pretty straightforward – a tad too easy maybe? The majority took very little thought, though maybe that was just luck. Last to go was 5d – I was looking for something a little more cryptic; also reve was new to me and needed the confirmation – thank you, Vince, for “Reverie”.

    1. Gosh Touchwood, this was given a 3 star for difficulty and i think it deserved it, not too easy for us CC members (clueless club) and for myself it took quite a lot of thinking about, appreciate for you expert solvers it may be a bit easy, but it is all relevant so to speak because although i am a mere beginner and a cc member i did indeed know the word reve :)

    2. Mary, I certainly don’t class myself as an expert solver – I ‘ve posted before regarding the relative difficulty of crosswords; sometimes answers just come without any effort and other times it’s a real struggle, without there being any apparent difference in the depth of the clue or the obscurity of the word. It took me ages to get 13d, for example, and yet no-one else has indicated any particular difficulty with this – the word just wouldn’t come to mind. There are many possible explanations – maybe the length of time since one saw a word in print could have influence; the word gets buried deeper in the brain? Takes more effort to unearth it? I dunno!! I guess also there are many different approaches, I often find that I’m quicker finding a word that fits what I assume to be the definition, then confirming that it fits the rest of the clue; rather than trying to “build” the word from the clue elements – though I do use both methods sometimes.


      1. In 13d the clue is intentionally misleading you into thinking of occupation as employment. After you’ve done a few hundred (or is it a few thousand ?) of these you automatically look for the alternative meaning !!

        1. Very true Dave – but in this case I had considered the alternative meaning and still the word wouldn’t come to mind. Too many dead brain cells maybe?

  11. I plumped for ‘clue’ for 5 down but had also thought of ‘crux’. I wasn’t too happy with ‘hear’ for ‘find out’. Otherwise fairly straightforward.

    1. I agree Pixie ‘hear’ ‘find out’ stretching it a bit i think, seems lots of us put clue for 5d

  12. Great start to the week.
    7 down made me laugh and of course there are no female criminals (except in Perugia)
    22 across was the best one for me having been there for the first time recently.
    Didn’t like 27 down.
    Wasn’t this a whole lot easier than last Monday?

  13. Re 22a – Niagara – again back, and the A & R come from a redhead, do they not? At least, that was my logic.

    1. Stringing together A (a), R (redhead), AGAIN (once more), in that order, we have ARAGAIN, and this when reversed gives NIAGARA..

  14. Those of us in Marys CC have learnt some new words today – REVE and MALEFACTORS. Also didn’t know there was a Pope Otto but got the answer from the clue. Also learnt about anagram part of the clue and adding a charade. Interesting!
    Favourite clue, 10a, very clever.

    1. Hi Barrie, i don’t know if there was a pope Otto or a Roman Emperor Otto, maybe someone can tell us???

  15. After the exertions of last week it was nice to breeze through in record time – only to realise later that it should have been crux not clue at 5D….
    I didn’t mind 18A and liked 10A and 8D. Also like having my French brushed up by clues like 29A.

    1. Before the advent of online solutions, like CluedUp, we could have had a debate about 5d which would have lasted until the solution was published tomorrow. We know for certain that the answer is CRUX, but it was my second attempt (after CLUE).

  16. Well that was Monday and I can’t say I liked it particularly – left me a bit flat.. Best part is the blog and the various comments. Also, a good review Rishi – thank you.

    The number of four letter words has increased to 12 in this puzzle – not pleasant. There were only two that I liked in the four letter department – 26d and 19a.- and there were a couple of good clues – 1a, 24a but I didn’t rate it very highly.

    Didn’t get stuck on the 5d as many – always maintain brain is wired differntly but for some reason 10a took me a while even though I had the down letters. Oh well – tomorrow should be better.

  17. 27d How does try =hear or find out please?
    I didn’t catch that -I didn’t hear that. But can’t think of hear=try or find out

    1. A judge hears the case when someone is tried for a crime. I might find out that the trial is taking place when I hear about it on the radio.

      1. Re “find out” in 27a. I must confess that I got the answer from “catch” and “try”. So I confidently went on to complete the puzzle and write my blog. It was only afterwards that I let my mind revolve around the term”find out” (I don’t ignore any part of the clue!) as to how that can mean “hear” and my conclusion was on the same lines as set out so beautifully by Prolixix above.

        Aside: Are Prolixix and Prolixic different individuals? Prithee, give me a pithy answer!

        1. One and the same person but with a clumsy thumb on the iPhone that hit an x instead of a c when posting on the blog – I have now corrected this faux pas!

  18. Great crossword although I failed to get 7d. Very enjoyable but I toiled for ages with 7d to no avail. BAH!!

  19. I liked it a lot, even if there were one or two clues to quibble about you can see the setter was trying to go beyond the humdrum. But I did put in clue, feeling something was missing… only to find the thing missing was the right answer.

  20. Twelve four-letter clues! all yery clean though!!
    After getting 19a , I checked in Longman’s English Larousse and saw that there were four Emperor Ottos..
    My favourite was 22a which I thought was a bit wet – if youv’e been there you’ll know what I mean – if not but you intend to go then take a raincoat!

  21. Some years ago I had the good fortune to see the Falls from the Canadian side. Yes, I wore the plastic raincoat but you can’t escape getting drenched, can you, if you take the boat?

    A friend of mine from my college times had invited me to his home in Kingston, ON, and I stayed with him for two months. We toured the eastern side of the country extensively.

    I may also mention that the first time I ever travelled by plane was on that international trip.

    Since then I have visited the US some four times as my daughter lives with her family in California.

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